Asian Cup provides staggering statistics

China's matches have drawn massive tv audiences back home (AAP)

Television viewership figures for the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup in China, Japan and Korea Republic have hit record numbers while the number of people attending the games has reached 395,892.

Statistics show the tournament is having the same huge impact on social media, organisers said.

In China, audiences grew as the national team advanced through the group stage with three consecutive wins.

For their first match against Saudi Arabia the average viewership (the number of people watching the match at any given time) for the live broadcast on CCTV-5 was 11.16 million and the reach (the number of people who watched the match for any time at all) was 39.19 million.

For the next match against Uzbekistan, the average viewership for the live broadcast on CCTV-5 was 13.54 million. The peak viewing was 23.70 million. The reach was 44.02 million.

The cumulative average viewership in China for its team's matches at the Asian Cup in Australia (27.5 million, including CCTV-5 and the regional broadcasters) was already higher after two matches than the cumulative average viewership for all the China matches at Qatar 2011 (23.8 million).

For China's third match against DPR Korea, the average viewership for the live broadcast on CCTV-5 was 16.17 million, which represented a 19 per cent increase over the viewership for China's game with Uzbekistan.

The peak viewing was 30 million. The reach was 52.4 million. The game, which was shown from 5pm, scored the highest TV audience for the pre prime-time timeslot since January 2013, when tennis star Li Na played the final of the Australian Open.

"Such high TV audiences for a football game are rare in China and usually happen only during prime time. It has been many years – actually more than a decade - since the national team has attracted such attention on TV," Pierre Justo, Director of CSM Media Research Sports & Media Department, which compiled the data, said.

The good thing now is that China won't probably have to wait long to see even higher ratings on Thursday when China will challenge Australia in the hope of reaching the semi-final of the Asian Cup,'' Justo added.

Total average viewership in the homeland of reigning champion Japan approached 50 million for the three matches on leading national broadcaster TV Asahi.

Japan's first match against Palestine achieved an average viewership of 16.0 per cent, which equates to approximately 16 million people.

Japan's second match against Iraq achieved an average viewership of 14.8 per cent, which equates to approximately 15 million people, and its third match against Jordan achieved an average viewership of 15.5 per cent, which equates to approximately 15.5 million people.

Audiences also grew in Korea Republic as the national team progressed through the group stage. Its third match against Australia achieved an average viewership of 4.57 million on national broadcaster MBC, representing 10 per cent of the population. The reach was 11.4 million or 23.4 per cent of the population.

The average viewership was 2.5 times more than the team's first match gainst Oman (1.8 million) and three times more than the team's second match against Kuwait (1.3 million).

Viewership for the DPR Korea matches in neighbouring Korea Republic has also been high, with 658,000 people watching its opening match against Uzbekistan.

In sync with the record levels of television viewership has been the outstanding turnout of fans at the stadiums. So far 24 games have been played and it is forecast that the attendance figures will reach 500,000 after the quarter-finals.

"Australians have embraced the Asian Cup in record numbers and it's great to see the rest of Asia watch the tournament with the same excitement," local organising committee chief executive Michael Brown said.

"The eyes of Asia and the world are on Australia and the wonderful football being played here."

There have also been incredible levels of activity on the Asian Cup's social media platforms since 4 January.

The official Twitter feed @afcasiancup, which is running in five different languages, has reached more than 1.82 billion, making it one of the most talked about Asian football events in history.

Video on YouTube have clocked in excess 3.3 million views, with more than five million minutes watched.

Followers on Facebook have grown by 73 per cent and posts by Weibo, the Chinese social media channel, have reached more than 187 million users.

With the Asian Cup starting its quarter-finals phase on Thursday, these statistics and numbers are set for a massive and exponential increase.

Source SBS